Exclusive: New data reveals 2020 hotel development trends

by | 01 Jan 2021 | Hotel Openings, Projects

Global hotel openings fell by almost a fifth in 2020, according to our researchers, although the hospitality industry still managed to complete lots of eye-catching schemes amid the pandemic.

The TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database shows that 863 hotel projects were successfully delivered in 2020, down from 1,197 a year earlier – an eye-watering annual drop of 28%. We take a closer look at some of the key development stats from an extraordinary year in which the Covid19 crisis loomed large.

Most active regions for hotel development

The effects of the novel coronavirus were not felt evenly around the world, but which region remained most active in terms of hotel development? Well, the clear winner here is North America, which added 364 new hotels and 65,588 additional rooms to its offering during 2020.

APAC and Europe share second spot with 209 launches each, although the former is well ahead in terms of total key count; 45,945 rooms were added in APAC compared to just 30,990 across Europe.

The Middle East is the next most active region with 48 new properties and 16,231 rooms, while Latin America follows some way behind with 22 hotels and 2,914 keys. And Africa brings up the rear with just 11 hotels and 1,942 new rooms.

Top five national growth markets in 2020

Given North America’s dominance, perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that its largest country, the US, also emerges as the most active country for hotel development. In fact, the US recorded 315 openings and 56,067 keys in 2020, well ahead of China in second place with 66 launches and 16,999 rooms.

Germany is next in line with 54 completed projects and 7,825 keys, followed by the UK with 43 new hotels and 7,233 rooms. Seeing the UK and Germany feature so prominently may come as a surprise to some, given that the two countries’ strict lockdowns have dealt such a severe blow to hospitality. However, the fact that lots of hotels continued to open in both despite the pandemic clearly demonstrates the remarkable resilience of the sector in two of Europe’s largest economies, and surely bodes well for a speedy recovery in 2021 and beyond.

Rounding out our top five, incidentally, is Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun took 35 properties and 6,571 rooms through to completion in 2020.

Cities with the fastest growing hotel markets

The highly contagious Covid19 outbreak proved to be particularly challenging for the world’s biggest cities, which by their very nature have large numbers of people in close proximity to one another. Despite this, some cities were still able to welcome plenty of new openings in 2020.

Special mention here must go to Dubai and London, which share first place in our rankings with 13 openings each, and 4,997 and 2,592 rooms respectively.

We also saw an impressive strong showing from the Texan city of Austin, which managed to complete nine launches with 1,757 keys. Eight properties celebrated their debuts in Bangkok and Nashville, meanwhile, with respective room counts of 2,270 and 2,082.

Fastest growing hotel brands in 2020

Our data indicates that Hampton by Hilton was 2020’s biggest growth driver when it comes to hotel development, with no fewer than 44 openings and 5,318 keys. Fellow Hilton Worldwide brand Home2 Suites by Hilton also made a significant contribution, adding 40 new properties and 4,354 rooms to its portfolio.

With 16 openings and 1,579 new rooms, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott takes third place overall. And Doubletree by Hilton and IHG’s Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants each added 15 properties to their ranks, with 2,672 and 2,124 rooms respectively.

Outstanding hotels completed in 2020

Amid the chaos of the pandemic, several spectacular hotels still opened their doors for the very first time in 2020.

One of the best of the lot was the 595-key Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, a new landmark destination attached to Wafi Mall in the heart of Dubai. Here, modern French art de vivre and Ancient Egyptian heritage elegantly merge with the very essence and culture of the UAE. This one-of-a-kind building is designed to resemble an obelisk, recalling the famous Luxor Obelisk in Paris, and it’s adorned with a gold pyramidion.

Another eye-catching scheme was the 297-key W Chengdu, set in the pulsating Gaoxin district of the Chinese megacity. A selection of modern F&B and entertainment venues invite visitors to enjoy tasty local dishes, contemporary flavours and expertly crafted cocktails, while this edgy and vibrant property also boasts a signature spa, pool bar and 24/7 service.

W Chengdu is certainly a very different affair to the elegant Hyatt Regency Sofia, ideally located in the heart of the Bulgarian capital on Vasil Levski Square. Guests are only a short walk from the National Assembly, which houses the country’s parliament, as well as many of Bulgaria’s top cultural institutions and tourist attractions. This 185-key property features three restaurants, a rooftop bar with unrivalled views of the city, 12,900 sq ft of flexible meeting and event facilities, a fitness centre and a spa.

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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